Google’s purpose is to connect search users with answers. Often, this purpose manifests itself when a shopper is connected with a new product, brand or service. Google thrives on helping businesses and consumers make these connections, which is why it is easily the strongest inbound marketing channel available.
Google helps businesses generate two types of website traffic: paid and organic. Each traffic type is valuable in its own way. When used together, they can empower your sales funnel at both ends.
It’s up to businesses to decide when to utilize each traffic type and to what effect. That’s what we will aim to explore in this article. We want to discuss the advantages of each type of traffic and how to blend them together into a killer inbound marketing strategy.
What Is Organic Search?
When someone types a query into a search engine, they are returned a number of links that Google (or Bing, or Yahoo, etc.) has decided are quality, authoritative sources on the subject. These links are considered organic results. Thus, any traffic that your site receives through this type of action is “organic traffic.”
Organic traffic is largely fueled by your search engine optimization efforts. The goal of SEO is to build site authority through content, backlinks, keyword targeting and other tactics. Site authority helps websites climb the organic search rankings, thereby improving visibility on the SERPs and increasing organic traffic.
What Are The Advantages Of Organic Traffic?
Many marketers and business owners claim that organic traffic is the best source of website visitors. It does have plenty of advantages that make it a must-include for any digital marketing plan.
● Search users trust organic sources because they know that Google’s algorithm works hard to only return the highest quality results.
● Generating organic traffic is essentially free and continues to produce returns as long as you can maintain a high search ranking.
● The first handful of organic results garner a lot of search traffic; the first result alone attracts a third of clicks!
● Organic traffic has a close rate of 14.6%, according to ImpactBnd, which is significantly higher than other sources of leads.
And The Disadvantages?
There’s no perfect strategy free of drawbacks. As powerful as organic traffic is, it does have some disadvantages.
While organic traffic is “free,” at least from a financial perspective, there is a substantial investment of time and effort required. Getting to the top of the organic results is not easy. As more and more businesses optimize their sites for search engines, the hunt for those top few results has only gotten harder.
And, SEO efforts work slowly. It can take months before you start seeing tangible results!
What Is Paid Search?
Paid search results show up in different places. Typically, they appear above the organic results, which is a unique advantage. However, some searches also return paid ad results at the bottom of the page. Paid results look and feel just like an organic result, but with a small ‘ad’ logo. Sometimes, search users don’t even recognize that this is a paid result, and not an organic one!
As the name implies, paid search results are bought by businesses. The cost of a paid search result varies greatly based on the popularity of the search term and the quality of the ad’s content.
Where organic traffic relies on SEO strategies, paid results are powered by search engine marketing.
What Are The Advantages Of Paid Traffic?
Some professionals shy away from paid traffic because they are worried it will cost too much, without producing enough returns. Others fear that ads are disruptive and feel like spam to potential leads. These fears are largely unsubstantiated. Paid traffic has a lot of benefits!
● If you aren’t getting organic traffic because your site isn’t on the first page of Google, paying for traffic is a fast and effective way to reach the top of the results pages.
● Google users that want an immediate solution are willing to click ad results on purpose, which means they produce high quality leads.
● You have more control over where people are landing on your website.
● Ads that draw paid traffic to your site are highly targeted, which ensures that only relevant and interested leads land on your site.
● The costs are entirely controllable, so there’s no reason to worry about spending too much.
● Google goes to great lengths to ensure only quality, relevant ads are posted, which keeps these messages from coming across as spam.
And The Disadvantages?
The most obvious disadvantage to paid traffic is the paid element. If you’re operating with a tight budget, paying for website traffic may not be in the cards. There are a few other areas of concern for paid results.
● The competition for paid traffic is heating up. It is very difficult to get ad placements for certain keywords.
● While you can generate paid traffic almost instantly, search advertising takes a lot of time and requires a constant attention to details.
● Google users scrutinize ad sources and are more likely to choose an organic result.
● Getting your link to place above the organic results is nice, but it is only temporary!
Effectively Using Paid Search And Organic Search Together
These two sources of traffic are very different from one another. It’s these differences that make them work so well together.
Organic search is low-cost and an excellent strategy for leads and potential customers in the beginning of the funnel. These are people asking discovery questions into Google and stumbling upon your website by chance. They explore your pages, become brand-aware, consider your products and slowly edge closer to the other end of the funnel.
Paid search, on the other hand, can use data gathered from organic visitors to target people that are at the brink of action. These are people that have made up their mind and are ready to convert. Ads present the perfect opportunity to click right to the point.
While it is helpful to compare and understand the differences between these two sources of traffic, it creates a sense that one is better than the other. In reality, we should be exploring more ways to use these inbound sources together because both paid and organic search has tremendous value in today’s marketing environment.